How to migrate your website

To make it easier to get in touch with us, from the 24th of March 2016 all support tickets will need to be submitted from your Crucial Control Panel.

Moving web hosts is a bit like moving house. There's a fair bit of preparation and work involved. However, if you're IT savvy and the sort who's not afraid to get your hands dirty, it's quite possible to do yourself.

The steps below outline the basic process in order to set up your site on your new hosting service.

If it all seems a little overwhelming, we're always happy to perform the migration for you. Get in touch to find out more.
 

Contents


 

Before you begin 

  • This information serves as a general guide only. It is far from exhaustive, and there may be a lot of variables unique to your specific needs that we cannot account for here.

  • We cannot assist with performing or troubleshooting a self migration.

    If in doubt, consider seeking advice or assistance from your web developer, or consider having us perform the migration for you.

  • We can show how to put your website data on our hosting, but we cannot provide specific instructions for obtaining that data from your existing host. If you need such details, or require the username and passwords to access that data (which you will), contact your existing host for this information.

  • Differences between your previous host and Crucial may mean that your website won't work properly straight away. Changes to the website, or the configuration in your cPanel account may be necessary before things work 100%.

  • If you have an SSL Certificate, you will need to provide us with your Certificate, Private Key and Intermediate Certificate so that we may install it on the server for you.


 

A few rules of thumb

  • Installation is the reverse of removal - if you're not sure how to get something from your existing host, consider the inverse action of the migration steps.

  • It is easiest to have your old and new hosting active concurrently. This way you can cut over with minimal downtime.

  • Many modern websites are driven by a CMS such as WordPress. Such CMS are more than just raw files, they utilize databases as well, with MySQL being the ubiquitous choice. You will need to be considerate of this when assessing your needs and performing any migration.

  • Migrating your site outside of business hours, eg, overnight or during weekends is a sensible time, to minimize any impact on website and email availability.

  • DNS changes take time to propagate - in other words, the "cutover" from the old server to the new. They are not instant, and this is not something we, or any web host for that matter, has any control over - it's just how the Internet works.

    However, you may be able to drop your TTL values in advance which should help speed up the propagation process.

  • Moving email data is only necessary if using IMAP for your email accounts. If using POP, you can usually get away without migrating email data - you would only need to setup the email accounts themselves on the new hosting.

  • If you're changing any particular details, such as DNS records, Nameservers, Database names, etc, it is wise to note down the existing values before you change them. This will help you avoid getting stuck in a pickle if you need to revert such changes, or refer to such details later on, should something go wrong.


 

Migrating your site - cPanel to cPanel

Our servers run cPanel. There is a high probability that your existing host does also. If so, both we, and your existing host, will give you a username and password to login to a particular URL such as:

http://www.your.domain/cpanel
https://www.your.domain:2083
https://server123.your-web.host:2083

Important

Depending on your site and data, the size of the backup may be very large, and it could take a long time to both download and upload between both servers.


Begin by logging into your existing server's cPanel, at the address your existing host provided.




When logged in, access the Backups section.



Then, click on the Download button beneath Home Folder under the Partial Backups heading.

This will download a .tar.gz file to your computer. Make a note of the name and location of this file.



Next, login to your new cPanel account on your Crucial service using the Temporary cPanel URL, username and password provided in your welcome email. If you have a Reseller service, you would log in with the cPanel details that you create in WHM.



Then, as before, access the Backups page.



Finally, use the Restore options on the right hand side. Click the button to locate the .tar.gz file downloaded to your computer, and then click Upload. This will upload the Home Directory backup and restore all of the files.



You will note that cPanel allows you to save separate backups for MySQL Databases, email forwarders and email filters. If you want to migrate this data also, repeat the same steps for each relevant backup.


 

Migrating your site - Manual Migration

If coming from a non-cPanel server, or if you have a particularly large amount of data, you may need to perform a manual migration.

These steps assume that the website files are already on your computer.

Within your cPanel account, there are several folders where cPanel stores various data. Your website files itself must live inside what is called the web root or document root. This is a folder called /public_html/.

You can use two methods to upload files to this folder:

  • cPanel's File Manager
  • Using FTP

Copying Files - cPanel's File Manager

To access File Manager, login to cPanel and access File Manager under the Files heading.


On the pop-up, select Web Root and click Go.



File Manager lets you browse various folders and gives you tools to upload your files. All of the buttons are fairly self-explanatory.


Copying Files - FTP

If using FTP, you will need an FTP Client. FileZilla is a popular choice, though there are many others. When you have downloaded and installed your FTP client of choice, configure it to connect to the hosting server or IP provided in the welcome email, along with your cPanel username and password.

You may then use FTP to locate files on your computer, and upload them to the server. Again, you want to put website files in the /public_html/ folder.






Migrating MySQL Databases


If moving from one cPanel server to another, you may use the Backup / Restore functionality to do this for you, as described above. Otherwise, in order to migrate a database, you must export or "dump" the database from your existing server (this should be exported as a .sql file), create a database on the new server, and then import the data.

There are two areas of note in cPanel on your new server, they are MySQL Databases and phpMyAdmin.



Click on the MySQL Databases page to create a database, create database users, and then give those users access and permissions to those databases.

When that is setup, you may then use phpMyAdmin to import the data from the Import tab.



For a more in-depth explaination of how to import and export databases using phpMyAdmin, see this article: https://help.crucial.com.au/hc/en-gb/articles/207680688

Do note that cPanel requires the database names to be prefixed with the cPanel username. This may mean you cannot setup databases with the same names as those used on your old server. If this is the case, you will need to use a new database name, and then edit your websites configuration with the new database details.


 

Migrating Emails

If you perform a cPanel to cPanel migration, email accounts and data should be copied across when backing up and restoring your home folder. However, this is not guaranteed, depending on potential differences between the old and new server.

Manually migrating email data is beyond the scope of this article. Additionally, migrating email data is also not a service we perform if we are doing a paid manual migration for you. As suggested above however, such a migration is typically only necessary when accessing email via IMAP.

If moving IMAP accounts from one server to another, we suggest using a service such as MigrationWiz. Please note we do not provide support for migrating email data, nor do we provide support for any third party services.

If your email is hosted on a different server to your website, such as a cloud service such as Office 365, Google Apps, or perhaps a on-premises mail server such as Kerio or Exchange, this would not change when moving your website to Crucial. It would be best to involve your Mail administrator with the migration process in order to ensure your email service is setup correctly and remains functional.


 

Testing your Website (optional)

With your website migrated, you may optionally like to test the website.

The best way to do this is to modify your hosts file. This 'tricks' your computer into accessing your site from the new server rather than the existing server.This lets you ensure everything works, before sending the site live.

Please see this article for instructions on how to configure the hosts file: https://help.crucial.com.au/hc/en-gb/articles/202755290

The IP address to use will be inside the Product Welcome email you received when you purchased your hosting service.

When complete, it is advisable to remove the changes made to your hosts file, as they should only ever be temporary.


 

Going Live - DNS and Nameservers

When you have completed moving your site, the final step is to configure your domain to point to your new server. This is controlled by DNS.

You may elect to use our nameservers, or 'external' nameservers from a third party. If you're using the nameservers of your existing host, or if you're just not sure, you'll likely want to go with the former.

External nameservers refers to services such as Amazon Route 53 and Cloudflare. If using these, you're likely a more advanced user with special requirements, and these services are set up already.

When the appropriate details are updated, visitors should begin accessing your website on the new server. Please be aware that DNS propagation may take several hours, and in some cases, a day or two. For this reason, it is ideal to change DNS at a time where impact is minimized, such as overnight.


Using Crucial's Nameservers

If using Crucial nameservers, you will need to access your account with your Domain Registrar - this could be Crucial, or another registrar such as Melbourne IT, Crazy Domains, GoDaddy, eNom, etc (there are thousands!).

When logged into your account with your registrar, access the details for the domain, and then change the nameservers to those described in this article: https://help.crucial.com.au/hc/en-gb/articles/202457274

Please note Crucial has multiple sets of nameservers which apply to different products. Please check the type of product you have purchased to ensure you use the correct ones listed. Additionally, the correct nameservers to use will also be in the Product Welcome email you receive upon purchase of your hosting service.

When our nameservers are configued, you can then administer your DNS records through the Simple or Advanced Zone Editors within cPanel.


Using External Nameservers

If you're using external nameservers, and/or you use a CDN service such as Cloudflare, you probably won't want to use our nameservers. Instead, you set the nameservers to those provided by your DNS host. Chances are you have these set up already, so there will be no changes to be made to your domain itself.

Then, you administer your records/zone via the website of your DNS host.

If you refer to your Product Welcome email, we supply the IP address of the server your website is hosted on. Access your DNS records with your DNS host and update the relevant records (@, www., etc) with the new IP. For support in how to do this, please contact your DNS host.

Please note that, where using external nameservers, making changes in the Simple/Advanced Zone Editors inside cPanel will not work for anyone on the Internet, so there's no real need to access these areas of cPanel. This is perfectly normal. Any intended changes need to be made with your DNS host.

However, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule:

  • You will want to change the MX Entry (there is a page within cPanel for this under the Mail heading) to ensure it matches the MX records as you have configured on your DNS host. This ensures any forms on your website will be able to deliver emails to you.

  • If you create any subdomains, these need to be configured both in cPanel and on your DNS host with your server IP.

 

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